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Children and Young People’s mental health learning event – Blog 1

15th July 2019

By Jess Simpson, Suzan Lateef and Andy Martin, Healthy London Partnership Children and Young People’s Programme:

The Healthy London Partnership Children and Young People’s Mental Health Shared Learning Event on 3rd July was a fantastic opportunity to highlight and disseminate existing positive practice from within and outside London. There were a number of breakout sessions on particular topics areas and this blog in on three of these sessions:

  • Digital mental health
  • Children and young people’s mental health transformation and support tools
  • Prevention and early intervention

The digital mental health session included a range of diverse presentations. Chris Martin, CEO at The Mix started the session explaining how they are helping young people deal with mental health through service design, technology and collaboration with existing services. Fiona Pienaar, from  Mental Health Innovations, followed and provided an overview of the recently launched Shout Crisis Text Line and how Shout provides a 24/7 direct messaging service for anyone is crisis anytime, anywhere. Richard Andrews, the CEO and founder of Healios talked about their extensive pathway of digital services, in particular the Think Ninja app, and how this has been designed to meet children and young people’s needs through prevention, early and specialist intervention, recovery and resilience.

The final presentation of the session concentrated on and explored two Healthy London Partnership digital tools:

  • Good Thinking as a digital tool to support people dealing with anxiety, sleep deprivation, stress and low mood and has had over 325,000 visitors since its launch in November 2017.
  • NHS Go app, which is free to download, provides confidential health advice and is an information service for 16-25 years olds. The app has been downloaded over 80,000 times and has had over 1.2 million in app page views.

The session on CYPMH transformation and support tools was very well attended and everyone that chose this session listened actively and had some lively conversations with the great speakers that we had!

Lee Wemyss from Healthcare Decisions spoke about the System Dynamic Modelling Tool as a fantastic conversation-starting resource that is freely available. Leading nicely on from this, Michael Watson from NHS Improvement spoke about how to think about demand and capacity, and what needs to be focussed on to ensure you are delivering a quality mental health service to children and young people.

We then heard from two services who gave inspiring talks about their journeys to positively impact the offer to their populations. Rachel Bullock and Sue Ford from North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust detailed how the adoption of a shared care approach in management of ADHD improved quality and experience, decreased waiting times and reduced costs. Cat Pritchard and Tom Bostock from Brighton & Hove  Wellbeing Service shared how they had addressed long waiting times when the service launched in 2016 by working in partnership, putting in place strong leadership and focussing on proactive caseload management. Huge thanks to both services for travelling a long way to be part of the day and share their learning!

Treating children and young people early for mental health issues is crucial but often there are barriers to assessment, diagnosis and treatment which can make this difficult. The prevention and early intervention session really encapsulated the need for all children and young people’s mental health professionals to be thinking and implementing earlier support for children and young people.

Louise Mackender de Cari, Royal Borough of Greenwich and Beverley Mack, Oxleas NHS spoke about and the innovative Bexley tele-Triage pilot. HeadScape available in the boroughs of Greenwich and Bexley, provides a one-stop source of self-help tools for CYP to manage their mental health and build community resilience, as well as the opportunity to independently undertake mental health screening questionnaire which provides tailored advice and information.

Claire Evans (Anna Freud Centre) talked in particular about the successful CYP IAPT Children’s Wellbeing Practitioner (CWP) Programme which has seen a highly effective addition to the workforce for children and young people, and parents with mild and moderate levels of need.

James Holden, Sutton CCG and Samantha Chong from SWL & St Georges, spoke about important initiatives to address a high incidence of self-harm in children and young people in Sutton. This includes a self-harm nurse now provides advice, assessment and treatment, and delivers training to social care, supervision to the school nursing team and provides self-harm surgeries to schools.

Michael Carver (Barts Health) and Roisin Keville (St Giles  Trust) provided an impassioned talk about serious youth violence and initiatives at the Royal London Hospital, in particular caseworkers embedded in the Major Trauma Centre, to reduce violence amongst children and young people.

We are absolutely delighted that evaluation of the event has been hugely positive. One attendee said:

“I found this event incredibly informative, useful and inspiring. It was a welcome ‘thinking break’ and provided some really useful food for thought and learning from other services which I will certainly take back into our service.”

We hope to be able to host another such event next year!

More detail about all of these presentations can be found here.

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